Concept

Bear Stearns

Summary
The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. was an American investment bank, securities trading, and brokerage firm that failed in 2008 as part of the global financial crisis and recession. After its closure it was subsequently sold to JPMorgan Chase. The company's main business areas before its failure were capital markets, investment banking, wealth management, and global clearing services, and it was heavily involved in the subprime mortgage crisis. In the years leading up to the failure, Bear Stearns was heavily involved in securitization and issued large amounts of asset-backed securities which were, in the case of mortgages, pioneered by Lewis Ranieri, "the father of mortgage securities". As investor losses mounted in those markets in 2006 and 2007, the company actually increased its exposure, especially to the mortgage-backed assets that were central to the subprime mortgage crisis. In March 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York provided an emergency loan to try to avert a sudden collapse of the company. The company could not be saved, however, and was sold to JPMorgan Chase for 10pershare,apricefarbelowitsprecrisis52weekhighof10 per share, a price far below its pre-crisis 52-week high of 133.20 per share, but not as low as the 2pershareoriginallyagreedupon.ThecollapseofthecompanywasapreludetothemeltdownoftheinvestmentbankingindustryintheUnitedStatesandelsewherethatculminatedinSeptember2008,andthesubsequentglobalfinancialcrisisof20082009.InJanuary2010,JPMorganceasedusingtheBearStearnsname.BearStearnswasfoundedasanequitytradinghouseonMay1,1923,byJosephAinslieBear,RobertB.StearnsandHaroldC.Mayerwith2 per share originally agreed upon. The collapse of the company was a prelude to the meltdown of the investment banking industry in the United States and elsewhere that culminated in September 2008, and the subsequent global financial crisis of 2008–2009. In January 2010, JPMorgan ceased using the Bear Stearns name. Bear Stearns was founded as an equity trading house on May 1, 1923, by Joseph Ainslie Bear, Robert B. Stearns and Harold C. Mayer with 500,000 in capital (). Internal tensions quickly arose among the three founders. The firm survived the Wall Street Crash of 1929 without laying off any employees and by 1933 opened its first branch office in Chicago. In 1955 the firm opened its first international office in Amsterdam. In 1985, Bear Stearns became a publicly traded company. It served corporations, institutions, governments, and individuals.
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